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06th Sep 2019

This simple trick will help you FINALLY get to the end of your to-do list

I am a notorious list maker.

As in, I constantly have lists on the go for all areas of our lives, from grocery shopping to stuff the kids have on or even things that needs doing around the house.

Lists make me feel in control. They make our busy family life seem easier to keep tabs on and nothing – nothing – beats the feeling of being able to tick things off my list, it gives me the greatest little efficiency boost.

The thing is, and I am sure this is the same for so many of us busy mums, my lists are pretty much never ending. As in, the minute I cross one thing off, I find I have to add 27 new ones to the bottom of it.

If this sounds familiar, it turns out that you (and me!) have been doing the whole to-do list completely wrong. At least if this 100-year-old productivity trick is anything to go by.

The Ivy Lee Method was invented in 1918, and outlines how to make the perfect to-do list. And guess what? It all sounds pretty doable! Here is what you do:

At the end of each day, write down the six most important things you have to do the next day and prioritise them. The clue here is that you stop at six, and don’t get tempted to write down the million other things you need to do as. In the morning, start at the top of the list and complete each task before moving on to the next.

Sounds simple enough? This trick works for a few reasons, apparently:

It forces you to prioritise (by limiting the number to six, you must make decisions about what really needs your attention). As in; anything slightly less important than today’s top six things are going to have to wait until tomorrow. By doing this, you give yourself a clear starting point, making it harder to dillydally around getting started. And finally, it emphasises doing one thing at a time instead of multitasking, which has been proven to just slow our progress.